Ratto: Seto, Sharks now linked to 'Shocker at Staples'

Ratto: Seto, Sharks now linked to 'Shocker at Staples'
April 20, 2011, 7:07 am
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Ray RattoCSNBayArea.com

LOS ANGELES-- Devin Setoguchi walked into the Staples Center Tuesday afternoon, looked up and saw an NHL commercial on the Miracle At Manchester, the Kings spectacular playoff comeback in 1982 that saw them erase a 5-0 third period deficit and beat the Edmonton Oilers.Setoguchi, who was unaware that the game ever existed, given that he was still five years away from conception, said, Oh, thats cool, and didnt give another thought to it.Now he is linked to it inextricably.

Yeah, thats pretty cool, he reiterated. Id never heard of it before. It was his cool, in fact, in collecting a nifty pass from Patrick Marleau and one-timing a blast past Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick 3:09 into overtime, that got the Sharks their finest playoff win ever. Down 4-love, they won, 6-5, to take a 2-1 lead in this series, and if we didnt know better, wed say they turned the series in their favor for good.We do know better because after one period and 44 seconds, the series had turned in the Kings favor for good. Shows what we know. Shows what we should be aware of in Game 4.We used our mulligan tonight, head coach Todd McLellan said more than once. This wont happen again.Whether this ends up being known as the Shocker at Staples, or the Fiasco on Figueroa, it is safe to say it wont happen again, not for a long time. The Sharks claim they came out more energetically than they did in the Game 2 disaster that saw them lose 4-0, but fell behind even faster this time. Two goals in 13 seconds inside the first 2:39, by Willie Mitchell and Kyle Clifford, then another body blow at 18:22 from Michal Handzus put them in terrible arrears.But for reasons only they can fully explain, to the extent they can explain this at all, they did not yell at each other. They did not panic. They did not mope.It was weird, I know, but everything was positive in the room, winger Ryane Clowe said. We played better than we did in Game 2, and we knew we were down 3-0, but we just felt better about our game. We just stuck with it.And so they did, promptly allowing a bad fourth goal to Brad Richardson 44 seconds into the second period, forcing McLellan do the only thing left in his hand exchange Antti Niemi for Antero Niittymaki in goal.But that didnt do it, either. A goal from Marleau on a glorious slap pass from Dan Boyle . . . a power play goal from Clowe 3:45 later . . . a smart drive from Logan Couture from Ian White at 13:22 . . . they were back in it at 4-3.And back out of it when Ryan Smyth scored 15 seconds later. Surely, the Kings had saved themselves in time.And surely, wed already been wrong about this game twice. So it was Clowe again, from Boyle at 18:35, and then Pavelski from White 54 seconds after that, tying the game and stupefying not only the Staples crowd but anyone who watched anywhere where watching could be done.I dont even know where to begin, Boyle said afterward. Were down and out, were done, but we somehow get back into it. I made two good plays the whole night, and they both ended up being goals. It was just a night when some guys stepped up and played great.Todd didnt say anything to us. He left it up to the players, and we just talked about not giving up, not quitting, just getting the first goal.McLellan disputed that.Oh, we talked, he said. They didnt need me to yell and scream at them. That would have been the worst thing to do. We just talked about passion, and doing the things we know we need to do and try to get back into this game.And so, improbably enough, they did, by changing goalies, and by rolling their top three lines almost exclusively after the first period. They couldnt do that very long in the overtime, because we were starting to run out of gas, McLellan said, but they got away with both Niittymaki and nine forwards long enough, thanks to Setoguchi and an inner peace that was outer angst only three days earlier.This may not have been the biggest playoff win in team history -- beating Detroit in 1994, and then last year, stand up as their most historically significant triumphs. But this was, for sheer unadulterated madness, the one that people may remember even longer than the 94 one. The Sharks were dead. Then they stopped being dead. Then they killed the Kings.For a day, anyway. As McLellan said, theyve used their mulligan. It only gets harder, and maybe even weirder, after this.